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Posts Tagged ‘Winter’

A glowing horizon and a bright crescent moon provided a delightful inspiration one morning. What if I stayed on the lookout for more of God’s blessings that day and kept a list?

The time was spring—sunbeams spangled the sky, a light jacket warded off cool breezes, daffodils and hyacinths dotted neighbors’ yards, and the birds sang their equivalent of the “Hallelujah Chorus.” By day’s end that list included twenty delights. (You can access that list here.)

Spring is an easy time to count blessings, when creation displays God’s glory in numerous ways.

But what about winter, when skies are often overcast, when much of the landscape offers only shades of gray and brown, and when most birds are silent or absent altogether? Is it possible to find twenty delights in quick succession?

As a matter of fact, yes.

Let’s begin with the first matter of morning: coffee.

Within minutes of hitting the start button, our coffee maker gurgles with gusto as the last of the water pumps through, thus providing the first item for my list:

#1: That happy burbling sound indicating the coffee is almost ready!

#2: The sublime flavor and fragrance of coffee.

#3: The fact that black coffee has no calories! (Yes, I realize the first three mercies on this list involve coffee. But I’m sure you agree: its supreme delight warrants attention to the details!)

#4: The view out the kitchen window, especially when it includes virtual mountains—a pale gray cloudbank spreading along the horizon, looking every bit like a ridge of the Smokies.

#5: For that coffee, my new Ember mug (a Christmas gift), keeping the last sip as hot as the first.

#6: The lamp on my desk perfectly backlighting the graceful steam curls from my mug. Mesmerizing!

#7: Sunshine pouring in the south-facing windows across the back of our house, especially welcome after several days of gray.

#8: Blowing cantaloupe-sized bubbles (sometimes bigger) with my fingers. (I discovered this bit of fun during the early days of pandemic hand-washing. With sudsy hands, make a ring of forefinger and thumb and blow!)

#9: Running an errand in my new, cozy and comfy boots—the outcome of a two-month search.

#10: A collection of herbal teas to choose from, once I’ve met my daily quota of caffeine.

#11:  Lazing in our recliners before the fireplace, with books, computers, and tea, reveling in the warmth, crackle, and wood-scent.  All five senses contentedly engaged.

(The view over our slipper-tops.)

#12: Discovering by chance the last item needed for my Colors of Winter list. Red was easy—cardinals and holly berries. Orange—robins and red foxes. Yellow—prairie grass. . .

. . . Green—the pines and evergreens. Blue—blue jays and blue-gray Northern bayberries. And finally, for purple, a snow-dusted beautyberry shrub. 

For eyes that seek, winter offers more than brown and gray after all.

#13: Restoration through creativity, as a scented candle flickers, restful music provides background, and occasional sips of tea offer refreshment. Again, all senses engaged.

(My latest effort–Thanks to inspiration from Pinterest!)

#14:  Playtime with the grandgirls.

(Calico Critters lined up for their baths.)

#15: The luxury of a cozy nap!

#16: A snow flurry, providing more stars for another list, included in my post two weeks ago, “Emblems of Love.”

(Photo taken on our deck)

#17: Fairy lights and candles to dispel the gloom of a wintry dusk.

#18:  A happenstance glimpse of a fox trotting by, as we view the snowfall one last time before dark.

#19:  Popcorn—a guilt-free snack (if prepared properly) and . . .

#20: . . . dark chocolate–just one square, offering a lesson in savoring. How wonderful researchers have determined dark chocolate is good for us!

The more we look, the more we see of God’s mercies and immense graces—a truth that applies even in bleak winter.

Have you been on the lookout? What mercies and graces have you seen? Please share an example or two in the comment section below!

Photo credits: http://www.maxpixels.net; http://www.pixabay.com; http://www.pixaHive.com; Nancy Ruegg (2); http://www.pxhere.com; http://www.flickr.com; Nancy Ruegg (4).

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Our neighbor, Christine, happened to be in her yard yesterday morning (in spite of frigid temperatures), as I was leaving to babysit our granddaughter. Christine was picking up trash that had blown in front of her house.

“I’ll be so glad when this weather warms up,” she called, stooping to gather more bits in her bag-covered hand. We encouraged each other with the forecast for the weekend: temperatures approaching fifty degrees.

Actually, I haven’t minded the deep freeze that has gripped the Midwest for most of January.  After living in Florida for forty years, I see cold weather as a pleasant change from stifling hot temperatures and hard-to-breathe humid air. (Give me a few years up here, and I might be longing for that heat again.)

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For now, these wintry January days offer a multitude of pleasures:

  • A bit of rest after the bustle of Christmas.
  • Feathery cirrus clouds gracing the sky.
  • Cardinals, juncos, and flickers cavorting in the trees on the occasional temperate, sunny day. (Without foliage to obscure the view, we can watch their antics unobstructed.)
  • The soft, pale glow of winter sunsets.
  • Plumes of smoke winding lazily upward from the neighbors’ chimneys.

stock-footage-little-town-s-morning-winter-view-the-main-accent-in-the-shot-is-rising-sun-and-rising-up-smoke

  • Candles glimmering cheerily as dusk falls.
  • The scent of homemade chicken soup simmering on the stove. (Granted, soup can be enjoyed anytime, but it takes a chilly evening to bring out the best of a savory bowl.)
  • Hibernating by the fire, computer on my lap, hot tea in a thermal mug at my side.
  • Layering myself in soft, cozy clothing—and Smartwool socks!
  • Quenching my thirst with a drink of water from the faucet–and it’s already cool – no ice necessary.
  • That first “Ah” moment upon entering the warm house. (Entering a cool house in Florida is more of a “Whew!” moment!) The coziness of home is most appreciated when cold winds blow outside.
  • Nature renewing itself for the life-burst of spring. One sign: buds on the magnolia tree are already growing plump.

Winter_Snow-covered_trees_at_the_lake_046387_

And what about those times when snow covers the landscape? Oh my. The enjoyment is magnified ten times.

  • Delicate flakes waltz in quiet descent.
  • Trees become dressed in lace.
  • Light glistens and sparkles from the brilliant snowscape.
  • A quiet hush surrounds us, as the freshly fallen snow absorbs sound.

All precious gifts, indeed.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Heavenly Father, I thank you that the whole earth is full of your glory, even in bleak winter.

In the snowflakes we see your never-ending creativity.

In the full magnolia buds we see the hope of spring, symbolic of our sure hope in you.

In the pleasure of a warm home and crackling fire we glimpse the refuge you offer to us: a place of safety, comfort, rest, and delight.

In the purity of white snow that covers the gray and the dismal, we see a reminder that you cleanse away our sins and make them white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).

And in the beauty and hush of a winter snowscape, we find our attention drawn to you. In quiet, wondrous worship. we give praise to you, our gracious, glorious God!

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

What gifts of winter do you most appreciate?

 

(Photo credits:  www.zatavki.com; http://www.blog.snyderac.com; http://www.shutterstock.com.)

 

 

 

 

 

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